168th Commencement: Watch Live
Professor David Pratt made his mark during an agenda-shaping forum hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.
Panelists at the Dec. 10 “Future of Work” symposium explored the nation’s changing labor market from a number of different angles. An “International Connections” meeting was held the following day to glean insights from the preceding discussions – a process meant to help mold talking points for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) at upcoming talks with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and countries around the globe.
Prof. Pratt took the stage for the panel titled, “Changing Work Arrangements and Employee Benefit Coverage: Do We Need a New Paradigm?”
“We all need downtime,” Prof. Pratt, an employee benefits-law expert, said in a short clip posted to the Department of Labor’s 271,000 Twitter followers. “We need rest, and we need time to spend with our families, because otherwise the whole enterprise is not worth it.”
The discussion was moderated by Phyllis C. Borzi, assistant secretary for employee benefits security at the U.S. Department of Labor. Other panelists included Vaughn Alvarez, 135th Street Agency; Bill Dempsey, Service Employees International Union; Nick Hanauer, Second Avenue Partners; and Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union.
Prof. Pratt presented earlier this year at the SunGard Advanced Pension Conference in St. Pete Beach, Fla., and the New York State Bar Association Trusts and Estates Law Section CLE on Retirement Benefits in Albany and Buffalo, N.Y.
Prof. Pratt has taught at Albany Law since 1994. Previously, he was in private practice in London, Cleveland, and Albany. He has specialized in tax and employee benefits law for four decades.
After receiving his law degree from Oxford University, Prof. Pratt worked as a social worker in South London. In 1972, he placed second nationwide in the professional qualifying exam for solicitors of the Supreme Court. He was admitted to practice in England in 1975 and in New York in 1978. He’s a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and a senior editor of the Journal of Employee Benefits.
Prof. Pratt is the author of
Social Security and Medicare Answer Book (6th edition, Wolters Kluwer, 2015); co-auther of
Langbein, Pratt, Stabile & Stumpff's Pension and Employee Benefits Law (6th edition, Foundation Press, 2015);
ERISA and Employee Benefit Law: The Essentials (American Bar Association, 2010); and
Taxation of Distributions from Qualified Plans (Thomson Reuters, 2015-16 edition). He has published about 100 articles, primarily on employee benefits topics, including "Telehealth and Telemedicine in 2015" (Albany Law Journal of Science & Technology, forthcoming, 2015); "Focus On… Defined Contribution Plan Governance" (Journal of Pension Benefits, 2015); and "Private Pension Reform" (NYU Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, 2015). He has also written three articles on physician-assisted suicide.
At the law school, Prof. Pratt teaches Introduction to Taxation, Retirement Planning and Health Care in the Age of Obamacare, Trusts and Estates, Business Law Survey, and Sales and Payment Systems. He also serves as an expert witness in tax and benefits litigation.
Prof. Pratt’s oldest child, Nick, who graduated from Albany Law School in 2006, is an attorney with the New York State Education Department in Albany. His second son, Sam, is a 3L at NYU. Both are, or will be, fourth-generation lawyers. His daughters have escaped the family fate: Sarah is a historian at the University of Alabama and Myisha is an undergraduate there. His youngest son, Hunter, lives in Las Vegas and hopes to study music in New Orleans.
Prof. Pratt has never regretted being a lawyer and considers teaching at Albany Law School to be a privilege — and very fulfilling.
“My work gives me intellectual satisfaction, the pleasure of working with students, and the ability to help students," he said. "My wife Shantye and my children bring me joy.”